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California Artist Paul Kaloper is October’s NPAF Gettysburg Military Park Artist-in-Residence

The Gettysburg prints are meant to be site-specific works, though, and the imperfections can serve as evidence of that.
— Artist Paul Kaloper
GETTY, PENNSYLVANIA, USA, October 18, 2016 / -- Gettysburg National Military Park’s Artist-in-Residence for the month of October will be artist Paul Kaloper,  originally from San Pedro, CA. Kaloper has a BFA from California State University at Long Beach, and an MFA from the University of South Dakota. His discovery of the artist’s vocation was something of a psychogeographic journey away from a certain isolation. “I wasn’t really exposed to art as a child. I was raised in Los Angeles in a blue collar community called San Pedro. Although it's only 25 miles from downtown LA, San Pedro might as well be located in a different country and era; it’s situated on a peninsula, which keeps it geographically and culturally isolated.  It isn’t on the way to anything, and non-residents only end up in San Pedro if they’re lost.”
Kaloper plans to photograph his subjects at the park and then transfer the pictures to screens with photo-emulsion and sunlight; he'll then use the resulting images to make multi-color screen prints — in the style of vintage souvenir decals. What draws him to screen-printing is its combination of high and low, chance and necessity: “The prints are both handmade and mass-produced. It seems like an appropriate medium to use to explore themes like consumer culture and social indifference. I think the most interesting prints are ones where the registration is slightly off, because it's like the illusion is on the verge of falling apart.” He adds that he likes the challenge of creating work under far from ideal conditions. Says Kaloper, “This method of working is much less controllable than the usual methods, and it introduces an element of unpredictability that's not usually present in contemporary screen prints. The Gettysburg prints are meant to be site-specific works, though, and the imperfections can serve as evidence of that.”

The National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), a 501(c)3 non-profit, is excited to continue and expand this program with the National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation to provide the Gettysburg National Military Park Artist-in-Residence program. This is one of many summer residency programs available at Gettysburg National Military Park this year. There will be a total of eight artist residencies in 2016. 

Kaloper will spend half of October and the first half of November, 2016 at the park, working and chatting with the public. He is energized by the opportunity to teach and learn from the Park’s visitors, says Kaloper: “I've never been to Gettysburg before, but of course I've got all these preconceptions about it. I'm hoping this leads to some productive cognitive dissonance.” He expects that interaction with visitors as he works outside in the park will be both grounding and stimulating to his process: “I enjoy hearing viewers’ reactions to what I'm thinking about and working on. Their input usually points me in new directions.” He is also excited to be living in the park as he has a longstanding interest in 19th Century history and Americana. Says Kaloper, “I'm particularly fascinated by the 19th Century political environment. The idea of visiting Gettysburg seems incredible to me, and the idea of making art there and living in a house on the battlefield for a month is positively surreal.”

Kaloper will meet with park visitors at the Park’s First Fridays program, held the first friday of the month. The Artist-in-Residence will give an artist talk and share some of his work on Friday, November 4th from 5 to 8 pm at the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station. The program is offered thanks to the input and support of the National Park Service and the Gettysburg Foundation whose joint efforts make the park the foremost visitor destination for those interested in the epic history of the American Civil War. 

“We’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service throughout 2016 and our Artist in Residence program has helped inspire so many park visitors. The art of Paul Kaloper reminds me in a way of the famous National Park Service posters that were created by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) from 1938-1941.” Says Gettysburg’s Superintendent Ed W. Clark. “None of these brightly colored posters were ever created for Gettysburg NMP, nor Eisenhower NHS, so I’m very excited to see how Paul interprets our two parks through his artwork.” said Ed W. Clark, superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park.”

And Barbara Sardella, Interim President of the Gettysburg Foundation, believes that integrating art into the experience at Gettysburg is a long-term Foundation goal: ”The Artist-in-Residence program is a refreshing way to make the stories from Gettysburg's rich history come to life. At the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, we use the magnificent Cyclorama painting and our new Civil War Art Exhibit to depict the courageous soldiers and civilians, ordinary people, caught up in extraordinary situations. The talented artists of this program like Paul Kaloper, who interact with our visitors and local residents create a spark when they offer a very different lens through which to view war, people, and the power of this place called Gettysburg."

NPAF:  Cecilia Wainwright (email)

Cecilia Wainright
National Parks Arts Foundation
505 715 5492
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